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The Vanished Musicians

Jewish Refugees in Australia


Albrecht Dümling

About 9,000 Jewish refugees from Nazi Germany settled in Australia between 1933 and 1945, a small fraction of the hundreds of thousands who fled. Although initially greeted with a mixed reception as «enemy aliens», some of these refugees remained and made a significant impact on multicultural Australia. This book traces the difficult journey of the orchestral performers, virtuoso soloists, singers, conductors and composers who sought refuge on a distant continent. A few were famous artists who toured Australia and stayed, most notably the piano virtuoso Jascha Spivakovsky and the members of the Weintraubs Syncopators, one of the most successful jazz bands of the Weimar Republic. Drawing on extensive primary sources – including correspondence, travel documents and interviews with the refugees themselves or their descendants – the author depicts in vivid detail the lives of nearly a hundred displaced musicians. Available for the first time in English, this volume brings to light a wealth of Jewish, exilic and musical history that was hitherto unknown.
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Chapter 8 : The Refugee Problem from an Australian Perspective


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The Refugee Problem from an Australian Perspective

Thorold Waters and the Australian Musical News

The Australian musical public was always interested to hear what was happening in Britain and on the European Continent, the models that they wished to emulate. London was regarded by them as the centre of the musical world, followed by Berlin, Leipzig, Vienna and Bayreuth. In response to this interest, by the summer of 1933 the monthly Australian Musical News (established in 1911) described the effects of Hitler’s rise to power on German musical life. Apparently the great soloists Fritz Kreisler, Bronislaw Huberman and Pablo Casals were refusing to play with the Berlin Philharmonic in protest against the racial policies of the Nazi regime.

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